Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Start of My Garden

Okay, I know it's been a few days since I've posted...alright already, almost 3 weeks.  I've been writing, I really have.  But my journalling the past few days has consisted of thoughts and dreams too private and/or fragile to post for all the world to see--if all the world were so inclined.

I started my garden today.  All it consists of now is a Bush Goliath tomato plant in a Topsy Turvy and several herbs in a strawberry pot. Oh, and a mint bush that a teacher at my former place of employ gave me when she thinned out her container garden.  But I have started and that's important.  So often I have dreams--small, medium and large--that I thoroughly envision and plan out in my head...but in my head is where they stay.  I am so crippled by my perfectionism and my instant-gratification mindset that I won't take a tiny step to get started because I want my dreams to manifest themselves fully formed and preferably RIGHT THIS INSTANT!  But today I took a step.  I DID something and the thought of that is making me smile right this instant.

I recently finished the book, Blue Like Jazz, by  Donald Miller.  He makes the statement, "What I believe is not what I say; what I believe is what I do."  I took a step today to DO what I believe--that it's important for me to know the food I eat, where it came from and what has or hasn't been added to it.  Right now this tiny baby step feels as monumental to me as Neil Armstrong stepping out onto the surface of the moon.  It is a manifestation of my desire to live more consciously.  To make the best choice for each moment instead of arduously planning for a future that may or may not come.  Wish me well...and may what I do truly reflect what I believe.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Scottish Ancestors

Yes, I know this is Valentine’s Day and I should probably write some deep reflection about love and relationships, but that doesn’t happen to be what’s on my mind.  Anyone who knows my family, especially my mother, knows that we are prone to suffering the consequences of certain choices we make which seem like perfectly good choices at the time.  Whether it’s my mother backing into the broad side of a school bus or Aunt Lois jumping in the “quick sand” or me, devoting a whole evening and even the next morning praying for the families of dead cows, I have come to the conclusion that it is all the result of genetics and therefore the fault of this Scottish ancestor about whom the following ballad was written. (Okay, maybe he’s not my ancestor, but he certainly should have been.)

The Ballad of the Scottish Hod-Bearer

Dear Sir, I write this note to you to tell you of mah plight
For at the time o’ writin’ it, Ah’m not a pretty sight.
Mah body is all black an’ blue, mah face a deathly gray.
An’ Ah write this note to say why Ah am not at work today.

While workin’ on the fourteenth floor, some bricks Ah had to clear.
But tossin’ them doon from such a height wasnae a good idea.
Mah foreman wasnae verra pleased; he is an awkward sot.
So he said Ah had to cart them doon the ladder in mah hod.

Now clearin’ all these bricks by hod, it was so verra slow.
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below.
But in mah haste to do the job, Ah was too blind to see
That a barrel full o’ buildin’ bricks was heavioer than me.

An’ so when Ah untied the rope the barrel fell like lead,
An’ clingin’ tightly to the rope Ah started up instead.
Ah shot up like a rocket an’ to mah dismay Ah found
That halfway up I met the bloody barrel comin’ doon.

The barrel broke mah shoulder as to the ground it sped.
An’ when Ah reached the top Ah banged the pulley wit’ mah head.
But Ah held on tightly, numb with shock, from this almighty blow
While the barrel spilled out half its bricks some fourteen floors below.

Now when the bricks had fallen from the barrel to the floor,
Ah then outweighed the barrel an’ so started doon once more.
But Ah clung on tightly to the rope, mah body racked with pain.
An’ halfway doon Ah met the bloody barrel once again.

The force of this collision halfway doon the office block
Caused multiple abrasions an’ a nasty case o’ shock.
But Ah held on tightly to the rope as Ah fell to-ward the ground,
An’ Ah landed on the broken bricks the barrel scattered round.

Now as Ah lay there on the ground, Ah thought Ah’d passed the worst.
But the barrel broke the pulley wheel an’ then the bottom burst.
A show’r o’ bricks rained doon on me; Ah didnae hae a hope.
As Ah lay there bleedin’ on the ground, Ah let go the bloody rope.

The barrel now bein’ heavioer, it started doon once more.
It landed right across me as Ah lay there on the floor.
It broke mah ribs and mah left arm an’ Ah can only say
That Ah hope you’ll understand why Ah am not at work today.

Do you ever have days like this?

Monday, February 13, 2012

White Noise

Both of my daughters have to sleep with a fan going at night, not necessarily because they get hot, but because they use the noise to drown out any unwanted sounds.  Like mom vacuuming at 9 pm or dad yelling at watching the football game or that pesky alarm clock telling them they need to get up.  White noise—it should be a good thing.

But I wonder how often we use the white noise of living to drown out the conversations we should be having.  We turn on the TV instead of talking with our spouse about how disconnected we feel.  We sing along with the radio with our child instead of starting a conversation about undesirable traits we see in the boy she’s dating.  We let the hum of the office chatter keep us from asking a grieving colleague how she is really doing.  Texting and social media trump real conversations with real people sitting in the same room with us. 

Today, I will unplug for 15 minutes.  I will ban the TV, radio, internet and cell phones from my home for 15 minutes.  I will sit and breathe and listen to that still, small voice inside me that is my true north.  I will encourage my family to do the same. 

And then we will talk.  Really talk.  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Self Discovery

As ridiculous as it is for a 42-year-old woman to be trying to find herself, here I am…lost.  I’m fairly confident this isn’t a mid-life crisis.  Instead, it’s the crisis I should have had in my late 20’s or, at the very latest, in my early 30’s.  It’s the crisis of suddenly realizing that I never took time to get to know who I really am—I was always too busy being a recovering alcoholic, wife, mom, housekeeper, pseudo-Christian, employee to actually discover who God created me to be.  Not who I think I need to be or who society tells me I need to be or even what the people who love me think I should be—but the inner person God created me to be.

I came across this amazing, life-changing quote on this simple living blog, :

“Everybody is original, if he tells the truth, if he speaks from himself. But it must be from his true self and not from the self he thinks he should be.”  ~Barbara Ueland

I am ready to tell the truth.  I am ready to speak from my true self.  There’s only one problem:  my true self has become so overlaid with who I think I should be and who I think people expect me to be that I just don’t know my true self at all.  I wouldn’t recognize her if she walked up to me at WalMart and slapped me upside the head.  So this is a journey of discovering the true me and it begins with a list of things that I know I love.  Not because someone tells me I should or because it's the “thing” to do or because it presents an image I want people to see, but things I love just because I love them.

1.      Butterflies
2.      Watching the birds at my feeders
3.      Violin music
4.      Gardening—when I have the time to do it right
5.      Anything sandalwood—especially men’s cologne
6.      Cooking from scratch—when I have the time to do it right
7.      Being tan
8.      The depth of certain words
9.      Big, beefy, goofy Boxer dogs
10.  Alaskan malamutes—but not huskies
11.  Slow, soft kisses
12.  Steamed broccoli
13.  The sound of rain on a metal roof
14.  The warm smell of horses
15.  Making healthy recipes taste good
16.  Elegant stationery and quality pens
17.  Citrusy fragrances
18.  Haunting Scottish ballads

This is an ongoing list that I will add to whenever I hear that little voice in my head saying, “This, I love!”

I hope from this journey to come to honestly know myself…and to be more focused in my life choices so that the majority of my time and energy is spent contributing to the world by doing the things I truly love and enjoy.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Courage Born

The untried road winds before me,
whispering a welcome in its dusty path.
Its possibilities seduce me
with deeds to defy most any map.
An untamed mountain might lie in waiting;
A dragon’s cave to be explored;
A peaceful lake for my perusal;
A rushing river that I must ford!

But do I dare to set my foot upon
this novel trek I do not know?
Do I dare to try the mountain
covered deep with unsound snow?
Do I dare to brave the cavern
with no promise of dragon hoard?
Do I dare to delve the lake and
brave the river’s charging course?

Ah, let me counter the whispered welcome
 with my own unsteady voice,
 and set my foot upon the unknown path
 however fateful is my choice.